Treat Customers like Life-long Partners
by John Tschohl

Over the years I have had some real “wow” experiences with businesses.
People and employees that have treated me like a VIP every single time I
have come in contact with them. Sad to say, the opposite is also true.

It seems that every time I have a great experience, there are numerous bad
ones that make me wonder why some companies are still in business. Why
anyone would ever consider going back to make another purchase. No
courtesy, no warmth, no one cares, no speed, no follow-up, and no respect.

My book, Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service focuses on
customers and your relationship. It’s a blueprint for a quality service program
that increases profit by developing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Why is loyalty so important? According to global management consulting
firm, Bain and Co., repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers.
This is due to both larger transactions and more frequent shopping. Even a
5% increase in retention can lead to a rise in profits of as much as 25-100%.
You need to ensure that you continuously offer value to your customers to
keep them coming back for more.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts.
It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer
experience a little bit better. ~ Jeff Bezos~ Amazon

Here are my 5 “Great Truths” about quality service:

1. Treat customers like life-long partners. Do it by listening to
customers’ expressions of needs and wants. Then help them obtain
the service or product that serves those needs and wants best whether
they’re in your inventory or not. This is the proper procedure when
you expect customers to return again and again over a long period.
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. We are not
doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an
opportunity to do so. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

2. Do not disappoint or anger customers.
Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if
you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife,
architect or engineer. ~ Dale Carnegie

3. See the business through customer eyes. Call it “empathy.” At T.G.I.
Friday restaurants, a chain of bistro type Corporation familiarizes
employees with customer perceptions with reports from mystery shoppers
who routinely check out store image, merchandise and service from the
customer point of view. Empathy is an important ingredient in the service
business. How one handles a service problem is as important to customers
as the solution of the problem itself.

Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find
your customers buying from them, not you. ~ Mark Cuban

4. Deliver more service than you promise or than customers expect.
This is a wonderful way to build customer loyalty upon their feeling
that they got a “good deal.” Practice the “and then some” principle.
Your products do all you say they will . . . and then some. Service is
prompt, reliable and courteous... and then some. If a customer needs
help once a sale is complete, help the customer . . . and then some.
Delivering more service than customers expect is a subtle competitive
tactic that competitors usually do not notice. In the process of building
volume you can confuse your competitors. They will not understand how
you are doing it.

Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what
they expect to get. ~ Nelson Boswell

5. Try to get better. Imagine a mental fluorescent sign that flashes the
questions: “How are we doing?” (Fine, but we can improve.) And:
“How can we get better?” (Apply the answers as if they were an
action agenda.)

“People respond in accordance to how you treat them.” ~Nelson Mandela

The newsletter Quality Assurance Report states that only when a company
knows exactly what kind of service its customers expect, delivers on those
expectations 100 percent of the time, at a price that customers are willing to pay,
while still getting an acceptable return, can the company claim to excel in
customer service.


John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant.  He is the President and founder of Service Quality Institute (the global leader in customer service) with operations in over 40 countries.   John is a self-made millionaire traveling and speaking more than 50 times each year.  He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service in the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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